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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Connecting to God: How Does It Actually Happen?
If you’re familiar with Calvary Chapel, you probably know that our ministry’s primary mission is to connect people to God. Our church undertakes a lot of other important initiatives, but none are more important as this one.
At the end of the day, the greatest problem people have is their alienation from God. By nature of Adam’s sin, there’s a relational rift between God and humanity and it results in a lifetime of destructive symptoms (Romans 5:12).
This rift is repaired through trusting in the work Jesus did for us on the cross. When we place our faith in the fact that He paid the penalty of our sin by dying in our place, we are “born again” and become children in God’s family (John 1:12).
We become connected to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing in life is more important than making this relational connection with God as a son or daughter. That’s why we offer this opportunity to people as often as we can at Calvary Chapel.
However, if you know anything about relationships, you know they require continual attention. You don’t establish a relationship with someone and keep it frozen in the past. Relationships are meant to be living, growing, thriving things filled with and fueled by continual communication and interaction.
If you’re married, you know this is true. A marriage devoid of any interaction isn’t going to be a healthy marriage! The same goes for any relationship between a parent and child, an employee and an employer, and the list goes on and on. Healthy relationships require continual communication between both parties—and this is never truer than when it comes to a person’s most important relationship of all: their relationship with God.
Connecting to God isn’t just a “one and done” event at the point of conversion, but it’s an ongoing lifestyle. If we aren’t connecting with God on a continual basis, our relationship with Him will never be what it’s meant to be. It will deteriorate into something bland, boring, and burdensome. That’s why so many Christians can come across as miserable . . . they’ve stopped connecting on a consistent basis with the God they were once in awe of.
So how does it happen? How does one connect with God the way we’re describing?
Go back to the concept of communication. Two people talking and listening to one another cannot help but find themselves in an engaging and fulfilling relationship. The same goes with us and God. If we’re regularly talking and listening to Him, we will experience a fulfilling connection with Him . . . it all comes down to talking and listening to God.
Talking to God
We know what talking to God looks like. It’s prayer. It’s that act of expressing our heart and mind directly to God, letting Him know what’s in there!
Now, see if you can relate to the following, because I am about to share a personal struggle I’ve often had with prayer. You purpose to pray, and you get started, but something happens . . . you begin to get distracted, you lose focus, you question if it’s worth the effort, and prayer sort of spirals to the ground. In the end, prayer isn’t happening, talking to God isn’t happening, and the relationship isn’t growing as it should. I submit that this is a common experience among Christians because the other half of the equation is often absent in our lives . . . we aren’t listening to God.
If you rarely hear directly from someone, your motivation to talk to them will be weak. I believe that’s what’s happening in a lot of prayer lives, people aren’t listening to or hearing from God enough. But if we heard more from God, our prayer time would thrive.
Listening to God
God is able to speak to us in many different ways; through the beauty of nature, in a dream or vision, by way of other people. But those are all secondary to the primary means by which God has chosen to communicate with us—His Word, or the Bible.
The very title, “The Word of God,” says it all. The Bible represents what God has chosen to communicate to us (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and it isn’t just something we read once, process once, and we’re done. No, it’s “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12). It’s a living book that always has something to say to us because God always wants to speak to us, and we need to hear Him in order to connect with Him as we’re meant to.
Now, there are many different methods and techniques out there for studying the Bible. Personally, I have found a way to process God’s Word in a way that translates into hearing from Him on a consistent basis, which in turn, fuels my passion to pray. I’ve been using it for the past six years and can honestly say that my passion for the Word is greater now than ever before . . . and that’s a good thing!
So, I want to at least share it with anyone reading this who senses a need to strengthen this side of their relationship with God. Simply click here to see what I’m referring to or you can download the file by clicking this link.
Keep it Simple
Paul warned the Corinthian Church against the natural tendency within us to move away from the simplicity that’s found in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). That’s a word for us, as well. We are so prone to making things much more complicated than they need to be, especially when it comes to connecting with God.
But God has made it simple for us. It essentially comes down to the relational principles of talking and listening. Talk to God. Listen to God. Talk to God. Listen to God. Keep that flow consistent and your connection with Him will strengthen. Simple as that!
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.